From Mascot to Pet: A New Home for JJ
Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, August 27, 2013 15:08
After losing his spot as the next mascot, Jack Jr. has found a home with a family close to Georgetown’s campus.
J.J. went to his new home August 18 to test the environment and ended up staying after the visit was successful.
“It worked so well I decided it was best for him to stay there,” said Fr. Christopher Steck, S.J., who cared for J.J. and mascot Jack in New South.
While Steck was not consulted about the decision to send J.J. away from campus, he was responsible for finding a new home for the dog. Steck declined to comment further on the search process.
Steck received more than 100 requests for J.J. after announcing he would begin the search process on Twitter. He visited 15 homes that met “ideals, not requirements” that he had posted online and narrowed them down to five top choices.
His requirements included that the family had experience raising “disciplined, well-behaved dogs,” lived locally in order for Steck to visit and help J.J. get used to his new surroundings, had multiple adults living at home and one adult who would be at home regularly and had no dogs that would not live well with J.J. He said the house should have a fenced-in backyard and provide a stable environment, and that children would require discussion.
The university’s decision to remove J.J., influenced by a settlement with parents whose child was bitten by J.J. last fall and an evaluation of the dog by experts without emotional attachment, prompted backlash from students and alumni who objected to its unilateral nature. No students were consulted in the decision, and Steck authored a viewpoint in The Hoya calling for transparency moving forward with the mascot tradition.
Students were not involved in the search for J.J.’s new home, but Director of Media Relations Rachel Pugh said that student dog-walkers from the Jack Crew would have the opportunity to say goodbye.
“I think J.J. would be most comfortable with somebody who’d always be ready to play with him. I think we provided that at Georgetown, but I can also see how a backyard and the ability to run around would be great. He’s a very adaptable dog,” said Georgetown University Student Association Vice President Adam Ramadan (SFS ’14), who is a member of the Jack Crew and the newly formed Bulldog Advisory Committee.
“I trust Fr. Steck’s judgment 100 percent,” said Neve Schadler (COL ’15), head of the Jack Crew.
The university said it planned to continue the live mascot tradition when it announced its decision after The Hoya broke the news in late July, but no public progress has been made regarding the search for a new mascot.
“We’ve been really focused on trying to make sure that we get J.J. into the best home, and now that that process is coming to a close, I think we can start to focus on pursuing some opportunities to bring another mascot here to campus,” Pugh said. “J.J. came here in a fairly confidential process between a bulldog breeder and the caretaker and the university, and I don’t know how it will transpire that we bring another dog to campus, but that’s what happened last time. … I think we’ll look for the right dog and the right opportunity presenting itself will dictate the timeline.”
Jack, who retired as mascot in March, remains on campus with Steck.
For more photos of J.J., see our slideshow below.